by Joe McCarty
(St. Boni, MN, USA)

I have several Sedum (Telephium???) plant in front of my house, about 4 yrs old.
They are so big, that they have opened up (all plant stalks have leened outward). They are not so pretty anymore.
Can I divide them, or do anything else to keep them in tighter to look better & healthier?
Please help,

Drought Smart Plants reply:

This is a common problem if Sedum telephium or Sedum spectabile are over watered and grown in soil that is too rich. They put on lush growth that has no strength, and tends to flop over, leaving the middle of the clump bare.

You have a couple of options: Cut the whole clump back to about 2-5cm (a few inches) and wait for it to re-grow.

The drawback to this is that the clump will not bloom again, as you will have cut off the flower buds. It’s best to do this early in the summer, before they get to this point, as then they may have time to produce flower buds.

The other option is to divide the clump now, and replant them in slightly sandier or gravely soil so they don’t have as much nutrition. This will keep them compact and full.

Either of these options will produce a nicer plant next year, unfortunately, there isn’t much to improve the situation for now, except to (shudder) stake the plants by driving a stick in beside it and using string to hold them upright. This is really a stop gap solution, and should not be relied on for a permanent situation.

See the pages on Sedum Autumn Joy for more on a variety that is similar to what you have, and for a more general overview, look at Sedum for Borders.

Learn more about Succulent Plant Propagation and see Propagation by Division.

Happy Growing,